EARLY SELF-WEANING HAPPEN WITH MY NEXT BABY?
My son self weaned when he was four months old. He would cry and
scream at the breast refusing to nurse. I tried everything under
the sun to get him to start nursing again, but he wouldn't. After
a week I gave in and started feeding him formula since he had
to eat. I even tried re-lactating a few months later to see if
he was interested and he wasn't. I didn't have a good pump then,
I don't know if that would have helped.
I am currently
12 weeks pregnant and want to nurse this one too. I am afraid
that what happened with my son may happen again. What can I do
to prevent this? I really would like to nurse this one for a year
Michelle, I'm sure that you won't have the same problems with
your next baby. It must have been such a difficult experience
for you! Having a baby that won't nurse has got to be one of the
most frustrating experiences a new mother can go through. While
it's not uncommon to have an older baby who goes on a "nursing
strike" for a few days, it is very unusual for a baby as young
as four months to self-wean. Without knowing the history and specifics
of your individual situation, I can't tell you what the problem
was. Given my experience, babies this young who refuse the breast
usually do so because of a medical problem, most commonly thrush.
Babies can have discomfort from thrush in their mouths even if
you can't see any white patches. The yeast infection can make
them refuse to nurse because in order to breastfeed effectively,
they have to move their tongues back and forth to strip the pockets
of milk behind the areola. They will usually take a bottle just
fine because they don't have to move their tongues much at all
in order to drink from a bottle.
a theory, and I have no idea whether that was your first baby's
problem, but it is one possible explanation. The fact that you
tried to re-lactate shows a very high level of commitment to breastfeeding,
and if you had had a good pump it would have probably made a big
difference. Babies older than six months are often very difficult
to persuade to take the breast again, especially after a period
of extended bottle-feeding. If you are going to get them to nurse
again, it is very important to have a good supply built up. Otherwise
you have a very hard time convincing them to nurse - they are
impatient, easily distracted, and used to having a steady flow
of milk from the bottle without really having to work at it.
If your new
baby does go on a nursing strike (and it's very unlikely), then
you need to get a good pump to maintain your supply while you
work on figuring out what the problem is and resolving it.
that you have a support system in place so that you have someone
you can call for help immediately if you do develop any breastfeeding
problems. Find out if there is a La Leche League group in your
area (call 1-800-LALECHE or go to lalecheleague.org)
and see if there are any IBCLCs (International Board Certified
Lactation Consultants in your city. You can contact ILCA (International
Lactation Consultant Association) at ilca.org
or 312-541-1710 or by e-mail at email@example.com).
You can ask your obstetrician or pediatrician for referrals on
local lactation resources, too. Just make sure you have someone
knowledgeable and supportive that you can call, and don't be afraid
to ask for help at the first sign of trouble, before little problems
turn into big ones.
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